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Sunday parking meters booted

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Motorists can continue to rely on one day a week of free parking in The City.

Meter enforcement on Sundays, a controversial proposal that pitted neighborhood merchant groups against transit advocates, has been shelved indefinitely by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

The SFMTA, which manages parking in The City, had proposed a 90-day pilot program to test out Sunday parking meters in five neighborhoods — the Marina, West Portal, Hayes Valley, Financial District and Inner Richmond. The perennially debt-ridden agency projected that citywide, Sunday meter enforcement would generate $2.8 million and encourage parking turnover in business corridors.

The SFMTA initially planned to implement the pilot program June 1, but pushed back the start date to Sept. 1 to conduct more public outreach. On Tuesday, agency spokesman Paul Rose said the plan will not be moving forward.

Hayes Valley Merchants Association President Russell Pritchard, who initially offered cautious support for the pilot program, said the SFMTA’s decision to drop the proposal didn’t faze anyone in his neighborhood.

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“Everybody is perfectly happy with the way things are right now,” Pritchard said.

Jesse Fink, president of the Clement Street Merchants Association in the Inner Richmond, said area businesses were concerned that meter enforcement on Sundays was simply a “fundraiser for The City.”

“I didn’t know of a single merchant that was for this proposal,” Fink said. “Parking is horrible on Sunday, but it’s pretty much horrible every day. I’m not sure charging on Sunday would help anyone but The City.”

Alex Feldman, president of the Marina Merchants Association, said his organization formally voted against supporting Sunday meter enforcement in the neighborhood.

But Tom Radulovich, executive director of Livable City, a transit advocacy organization, said it was unfortunate that the SFMTA decided to drop its proposal.

“This would have been a good way to manage parking in commercial districts where there is often real shortages,” Radulovich said. “I also think it perpetuates the MTA’s obnoxious habit of only looking for areas of revenue during times of crisis.”

The SFMTA first began investigating charging for parking on Sundays at the behest of some members of the Board of Supervisors. However, Mayor Gavin Newsom has maintained continual opposition to the plan, and of the five supervisors whose neighborhoods were slated for the pilot program, only Ross Mirkarimi offered outright support.

Along with considering Sunday enforcement, the SFMTA recently unveiled variable-pricing meters that are part of its SF Park program, and in January it’s going to add more than 1,300 meters to city streets.


Parking in The City

441,541: Parking spaces (paid and unpaid) in San Francisco
25,000: Parking meters
5: Neighborhoods that were slated for Sunday meter enforcement pilot program: West Portal, Hayes Valley, Financial District, Marina and Inner Richmond
3,207: Parking meters in five neighborhoods targeted for Sunday enforcement
$2.8 million:</strong> Projected revenue generated from citywide Sunday enforcement
$750 million: Total budget of SFMTA

Source: SFMTA

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